Difficulty: Easy but long cooking time
Mallow (Malva rotundifolia L.) is a
mucilaginous vegetable herb used in North Africa and Egypt. Any plant in the Malvaceae family is often
called mallow. It is very popular in China and one
is most likely to find it in a farmers market.
In California, it might be sold under its Japanese name, fuyu aoi,
or Chinese name, yuan ye jin kui.
Traditionally, this Algerian stew called al-buqūl, which means
“greens,” or specifically “legumes,” would be cooked longer than I do here
because the dried legumes would need lots of cooking. I use the entirely satisfactory canned
chickpeas and fava beans. The dried white
beans, though, do have to be cooked until almost tender, about 1 ½ hours,
before adding to the stew. The kind of
canned fava beans you are looking for are the round ones called “bath fava” or
foul medammes, the transliterated name most likely to be found on the label.
Yield: Makes 8 servings
Preparation Time: 2 hours
Leaves from 3 bunches mallow (about ¾ pound), well washed, all stems removed and chopped coarsely
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste dissolved in ¼ cup water
1 large dried red chile
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 ½ cups cold water
1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas, drained
1 ½ cups cooked small white beans, drained
1 ½ cups cooked fava beans, drained
1 stalk cardoon, diced and boiled for 1 hour in water with 1/4 cup vinegar or 4 large fresh artichoke hearts, diced or 3 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 medium potatoes (about 10 ounces), peeled and diced
1 cup fresh fava beans (from about 1 ¼ pounds of pods), skinned
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
½ cup pitted imported green olives
Leaves from 1 bunch fresh cilantro (coriander leaf), finely chopped
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the mallow until wilted, but floating on top, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain.
2. In a casserole, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then cook, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn, the garlic with the tomato paste and water, dried red chile, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt until the water is nearly evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the water, chickpeas, white beans, and fava beans, reduce the heat to medium and cook until almost tender, about 50 minutes. Add the semi-cooked cardoon, artichokes, or celery, the potatoes, the fresh fava and peas, and the olives. Stir and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, 40 to 45 minutes.
3. Add the cilantro and reserved mallow, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until it is thick and syrupy, about 15 minutes. Remove and discard the dried chile and serve hot or cold.